Monday, May 16, 2016

Mrs. David Beach’s Long Walk: From New York to Chicago Through Lorain – May 1912 – Part 3

New York Globe photo of Mrs. Beach dressed for rain
After its extensive coverage of Mrs. David Beach in its May 14, 1912 edition, the Lorain Times-Herald included one small update of her progress after leaving Lorain.

The front page of the May 15, 1912 newspaper noted that she had left Sandusky that morning on her way to Oak Harbor, and that “her route includes crossing a mile and a half over Baybridge.”

Mrs. Beach finished her long walk, arriving in Chicago on May 28, 1912. Her achievement appeared to be well-covered in newspapers across the country.

From the May 31, 1912 Fort Collins, Colorado Weekly Courier
From the May 28, 1912 Kingston, New York Daily Freeman
The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Yearbook for 1913 included a detailed listing of her journey (below).
It’s still quite an achievement more than a hundred years later, especially in view of the primitive road conditions at that time and her defiance of some generally accepted health principles (such as drinking no water at all on her journey).

Mrs. Beach later published a book about her walk, entitled My Walk From New York to Chicago.
I close out my look back at the remarkable Mrs. David Beach with the outspoken interview that she gave the Lorain Times-Herald reporters in her hotel room during her visit to Lorain. It appeared in that paper on May 14, 1912.
Yes, Ladies, You May Wear High Heels and Stays, But Don’t Eat Meat, Says Fair Walker
In her room at the Hotel Lorain last evening, Mrs. David Beach, of New York, author, musician, and now-famous woman walker, talked of her ideas concerning diet and health. Her maid busied herself about the room, preparing for the usual routine of massage and bathing that follows each day’s stint on the road. Mrs. Beach’s heavy walking shoes were unlaced and taken off.
She talked rapidly, but distinctly with just a trace of “Eastern” accent.
“This trip of mine,” she began, “is a bigger thing, a broader undertaking than a mere attempt to make a name for myself or to make money. I am doing this to educate the people to the right way of taking care of their bodes.
"Degeneration Threatens American”
“America needs a health awakening. The stomachs of Americans threaten to curse the degeneration of the nation, and all the doctors in the world won’t help America very much in making the radical change in the physical being of her citizens that is necessary to the nation’s welfare.
“Food of the wrong kind is the cause of all disease. You look skeptical, but that is true, nevertheless. I have studied the effects of food for nine years.
“The doctors do as well as they can. I wish to say nothing against them. As a whole, the medical profession is an honorable one. Every doctor I have ever known has been a conscientious worker in his profession. But while you are pinning your hope for health salvation upon the doctors, do not forget that America’s greatest cancer specialist died of cancer.
No Cancer in China
“In vegetarian countries cancer is unknown, as are nearly all the rest of the diseases common to meat-eating people. In China and Japan, where rice is the principal food of all the people, a case of cancer is never seen.
Here the reporter thought he saw a loop-hole. “How about leprosy in China and yellow fever and malaria in other vegetarian countries?” he asked.
“The climatic conditions are responsible,” was the answer. “China almost the home of leprosy, is an unsanitary country, poorly drained. Water undermines the ground throughout nearly the whole Chinese empire. The people know practically nothing of sanitation.
The Body Its Own Judge.
“If you doubt my word as to the strength-giving powers of a strictly vegetarian diet, write to the government food experts. They will tell you that grains, vegetables and fruits have more nourishment, weight for weight, than meats.
“People often ask me, ‘How shall I start? What shall I eat? I can only say that eating is a matter of temperament. Foods suited to the needs of one person are not suited to the needs of others – and I am talking strictly of the foods included in what is generally called the vegetarian diet. A family of three members may require three different kinds of vegetable foods. The individual himself is the best judge of what he needs. His own body will tell him if he is treating it right.
“Don’t overload the stomach with indigestible matter. That is the most important thing. A meal of roast beef, potatoes, pastry and coffee, contains almost no nourishment aside from that in the potato, and it takes a good stomach to assimilate that. The meat juices simply act as a stimulant, just as the coffee does.”

“The Hobble An Abomination.”
The reporter was getting anxious about a question he had in mind.

“What do you think of the women’s styles and mode of dressing?” he interposed.

Mrs. Beach’s answer came like a flash.

“The tight skirts–I mean the hobble kind–are an abomination. It is preposterous that the American women will tolerate them. They are absurd, both from the standpoint of beauty and utility.

“But I do believe that most women are better off with stays, if they are properly designed–sufficiently loose, and rather long in front. I wear them myself on the road.

“The American woman’s shoes are not as bad as her hobble skirts. I am not crank enough to say that a woman should wear low heels at all times. When one attends a society function, for instance, one must be properly booted to be well dressed. The ‘French’ heels, of course, are unthinkable at any times. For a dress shoe a woman may well wear a heel high enough to make her foot look shapely and trim, if it is broad enough at the base to support her ankle properly.

“Even on my tramp, I found that I could not do without heels on my shoes. The ones on my walking shoes are an inch high, and the full width of my foot."

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